Apple-Cheddar Puffs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch, divided
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon peeled and grated, fresh ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Heat oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat the butter and 1 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water until boiling. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture comes away from sides of pan and forms a ball of dough, about 1 minute.

Transfer dough to bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with paddle attachment for 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, waiting until fully incorporated before adding next. When all eggs have been incorporated, mix in the cheese.

Spoon mixture into a large, zip-close bag with corner cut off (or a pastry bag). Gently squeeze bag to create walnut-sized mounds on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each mound. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower oven to 375 F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Remove puffs from oven and pierce side of each to allow steam to escape. Cool completely, then use or store in an airtight container up to 24 hours.

While puffs bake, make filling. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the apples, sugar, ginger, lemon juice and pinch of salt with 2 tablespoons water just until apples are tender, about 6 minutes. In a glass, stir together 2 tablespoons water and the cornstarch, then add to apples. Bring mixture up to a simmer and cook just until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before using. Mixture also can be refrigerated up to 24 hours prior to adding to puffs. If so, rewarm just before using.

To fill puffs, cut each in half horizontally. Spoon a small amount of filling into bottoms of shell, then replace top halves of shells. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 puffs.


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